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Alphabet dispute spells outrage in Croatian town

AP
Croatian protesters cheering with a banner that features their town's name crossed out in Serbian Cyrillic script during a protest in Vukovar, eastern Croatia, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. War wounds have been revived with the Croatian government plans to introduce Serbian Cyrillic in Vukovar along with the other areas in the country with sizable Serb community _ a move that is in line with the EU’s standards for the respect of minority rights, but which has infuriated war veterans and nationalists. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 8:58 p.m.
 

VUKOVAR, Croatia — Can Vukovar also be Bykobap?

Whether the name of the war-scarred town on the Danube is written in the Latin or Cyrillic alphabet is a sensitive question. Croatia's upcoming entry into the European Union is forcing residents of the Balkan country to answer it.

Two decades after it was reduced to rubble in a Serb-led army siege, Vukovar is testing whether Croatians are ready to respect minority rights.

The Croatian government is trying to introduce Serbian Cyrillic writing into areas with sizable ethnic Serb communities, a move that has infuriated Croatia's war veterans and nationalists. Thousands of protesters joined a demonstration against the change on Saturday in Vukovar.

Unlike ethnic Croats, the minority Serbs use the Cyrillic alphabet, which is influenced by Orthodox Christianity and used by Russians. Though Vukovar sounds the same in both alphabets, in Cyrillic it is written as Bykobap.

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